In the Apennines south-east of Bologna , just after San Benedetto Val di Sambro you find Castiglione dei Pepoli. This village is situated between the highest mountains of the area: Monte Gatta (1158 m), Monte Bagucci, Monte Coroncina and Monte Tavianella.
No, you would never go to Castiglione dei Pepoli. It takes a hell of a time to get there and you’re in the middle of nowhere. Why would you. You are a passer-by, traveling through and moreover it is siesta time. Nothing to eat or drink and all the shops, if ever there are, are closed. But something in my brain flickered when I saw centro storico. Later, I thought, later, if we pass again along this road.
So after the visit to the Santuario in Boccadirio, and on the way back, we passed Castiglione dei Pepoli. By that time I sure wanted a stop because I would be too early at the Lago Sulviava.
Castiglione dei Pepoli. Oasi di pace, you read on the webpage of the place. It has been different once. In the 12th century the area belonged to the feudal lordship Alberto di Prato and Mangone. In 1340 the area was sold to the Lords of Pepoli, hence the name. But it wasn’t before 1863 that this name changed. Before the little town was called Castiglione dei Gatti.
The South African War Cementery on the outskirt of the village and the War Memorial in the centre remind every visitor of the South African Division which liberated Castiglione in September 1944.
The Paolo Guidotti Cultural Centre includes a library and a Sala della Terra where you discover the archeology and minerals from the upper Bologna Appenines. One room is devoted to the traditional manufactures and the 19th century life in Castiglione.
If you are interested in railways, you can also find all info about the workers and their efforts to build the Great Tunnel of the Apennines (Bologna-Florence railway).